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Question Number: 31805

Mechanics 9/21/2017

RE: Intermediate Under 14

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

Recently I saw a Barcelona game where Messi got a yellow card, apparently because he asked the referee to give someone else a yellow card. The announcer said it was mandatory under the new laws.

I looked all over, but couldn't find it mentioned in the LOTG.

1) Is that now a mandatory caution?
2) If so, where is that mentioned?
Thank you in advance,

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Phil,

It's not mandatory in the laws - but a competition (such as the EPL) could have issued the instructions that referees are to card for it. So perhaps in the EPL it's become mandatory under the directives those referees have received.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Phil,
If by 'the new laws' they meant the latest edition of the Laws of the Game then you are right, there is no such provision. Since this was a UCL game, as ref Wright mentions, it might be some kind of recommendation issued to UEFA referees.

If memory serves, there was a time when FIFA, before a World Cup, in its pre-competition briefing to referees, stated that they considered this kind of gesture to be an act of unsporting behaviour which referees should caution for. It was never adopted by the IFAB for inclusion in any edition of the Laws of the Game as a mandatory caution, however.

However it is hardly unprecedented - I have a seen a number of examples down the years of players being carded in this scenario.

I would also say that if the announcer was mistaken, it would not be the first time that a TV commentator has come out with an incorrect statement about what the laws contain. In fact hardly a week goes by that I don't hear at least one commentator or pundit say something totally incorrect in relation to the Laws.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
Good to hear from you again. You were somewhat quiet there for a period.
Anyway UEFA has advised its senior group of referees that it expect cautions to be issued in blatant cases of player demanding an opponent be cautioned. Here is the content of its advice

** Players express dissent or undermine the referee's authority in many ways, such as:
# by gestures or by running towards the referee or assistant referee in protest
# by crowding around the referee (mass protest / mobbing) - in this case it is expected that at least one player is given a yellow card
# by verbally or physically demanding a yellow card for the opponent
Referees should gain full respect and maintain it throughout the game. For this purpose the referees should:
# express strong personality if player(s) show first signs of disagreement;
# administer a caution if they consider the player's action as dissent!
# administer a caution to a player who requests a yellow or red card for an opponent
A timely caution may have a preventative effect and stop other players showing dissent. UEFA expects referees to deal firmly with dissent and the offenders to be cautioned.
UEFA is determined to stop dissent and the harassment of referees on and off the pitch. ** end of quote
Now in the past La Liga has followed UEFA advice closely or in some cases went beyond those advices. It may be that Spanish refereeing has particularly strong connections with UEFA through its administrators.
A few seasons one directive was that every deliberate handling in La Liga had to be cautioned and it caused all sorts of problems for referees and the game. It has since reverted to the discretionary caution and the laws has followed that with the change to Law 12 by removing *preventing an opponent gaining possession’ as a YC offence as according to IFAB it caused some referees to caution for every handball.
So in your example it could be that it was a UEFA badged official doing what he always does or it could have been a referee being observed as part of his UEFA certification. I have seen this been let slide by senior UEFA referees and also strictly enforced by others.

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